Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Too Much Time Indoors Can Affect Your Childs Development.

It’s a well-known fact that today’s children are spending too much time inside, and not enough time making the most of the great outdoors and enjoying the fresh air.
It appears that there are three primary reasons behind this: modern technologies have led to an indoor environment that is rife with ‘entertainment’. Where in twenty or thirty years ago children had to put their minds to creating their own entertainment, homes are now filled to the rafters with ready-made sources. Additionally, parents are busier than ever and simply don’t have the time to head outdoors with their children or interact with them in ways that will benefit their health and development. Parents today also fear for their children’s safety. They worry they may get hit by a car or kidnapped by a stranger of rogue intentions. Due to these fears they are reluctant to let them leave the house without their supervision.
Yet are these small dangers worth the much higher risk that a childhood indoors may impact negatively on their health?
Our children of today are becoming ever more overweight and unfit. While many people like to blame this on the modern fast food culture, McDonalds and the like are far from the only scapegoat - the lack of physical activity most children undertake is equally, if not more-so a culprit.
Children who spend too much time indoors are also more prone to developing allergies and other infections, particularly if they are living in overly sanitised homes.
Activities outdoors additionally help children to develop confidence, creativity, independent thinking and resourcefulness. This is in opposition to children that spend their youth fixated on a television screen wherein none of these attributes will be formed or honed.
The best way to instil a love of the outdoors in children is for the parents to get outside with them. Even those who reside in climates that are less suited to an outdoor lifestyle can still embrace the world beyond the sofa if they utilise the right clothing and equipment. For instance, kids waterproof trousers and jackets can keep them warm, dry and comfortable whatever the weather. Ideally kids waterproof trousers and jackets should be worn in combination with a pair of wellington boots, and if the weather is particularly bad the outfit should be sealed together as securely as possible.
If suitable clothing is not worn, children may become unhappy - not a state of mind that is akin to transforming them into new fans of the outdoors.
If your child is really starting to show a love of exploring and playing in the open air you could take it to the next step and encourage them to get involved in some outdoor sports, or even water sports. Parents can invest in childrens wetsuits for a relatively small amount of money. The child is then able to participate easily in all manner of water sports from kayaking to scuba diving and even surfing.
There are a couple of precautions that should be taken by any parent choosing to venture outdoors with their children. Make sure the children know what they are to do should they become lost. A fantastic idea is to fit them with a wristband with your mobile number on it – however ensure to keep your mobile charged, or you’ll have to head home before you can do anything to locate the lost little ones. Alternatively, you could arrange a clear meeting spot (though this isn’t advisable if your children are very young). This entails locating a land mark that is visible from all locations and agreeing that all the family will head to that point should someone get lost.

This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Little Terra. Amy writes on a variety of topics including how a childhood indoors can affect the development of a child.

1 comment:

  1. I find that if I take my kids outside they sleep way better at night. They've had time to run off energy!

    Sometimes it is hard with the business of things. I don't like my boy's playing outside alone. We even have a fenced in backyard. It still freaks me out. Someone could come and grab one of our from the other side of the house. I wouldn't know because I wouldn't be able to hear or see.